HURON | Some hunters are concerned about a new deer hunting license proposal from the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department.
The proposal would require deer hunters to pick one preferred season for their choice of first license draw, instead of applying for numerous preferred seasons at once.
The new proposal is meant to increase the number of hunters drawing their preferred firearms deer license, officials said.
The department received about 52,600 resident hunter applications in 2017 for the roughly 35,000 available licenses, according to GF&P Special Projects Coordinator Kevin Robling. Less than half of deer hunters received a license on their first draw last year, he said.
But some hunters are concerned with how the new system will impact preference points, which can be purchased when applying for licenses and increases hunters' odds of being drawn for the next season.
One hunter has been hunting on both sides of the river for years, but he said he fears those days will be coming to an end.
"My preference for putting in a license will be for an East River tag, but I also put in preference for a West River tag, which I have built up numerous years of preference for. And under the new proposal, I would lose those years of preference points," said Roger Johnson.
Hunters can still receive more than one tag in a season through the new proposed system, but it will be less likely, Robling said.
There are seven deer hunting firearm seasons in South Dakota: Black Hills, West River, East River, Custer State Park, Refuge, special buck and muzzleloader deer season.
The GF&P Commission will hold two public hearings before voting on the proposal in October.